Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Speaking on nightly SharePoint builds and UI testing - European SharePoint Best Practices Conference 2011

I’m privileged to again be part of this event – it kinda seems strange because it’s on my doorstep here in London, but for SharePoint material this conference is probably only bettered by the official SharePoint Conference held by Microsoft in the U.S (my opinion of course). The speaker list again consists of the biggest names in SharePoint (and me!), and probably the biggest issue an attendee could face is wanting to go to two sessions simultaneously – trust me, there’s worse problems to have with a conference.

After doing 3 sessions last year, I get to focus on just 1 this time so I wanted to make it special. I ended up somewhere in the ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) space again, but I’m hoping it’s something different from some of the other dev sessions (and other talks I’ve given recently). Here’s the abstract:

From good development to great – nightly builds and UI testing with SharePoint 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010

So you (or your dev team) know your way around the SharePoint API, but deployments are still painful and there are quality issues. Maybe you looked at unit testing SharePoint, but didn't yet manage to fully adopt it. This session looks at how Visual Studio Team Foundation Server can help SharePoint projects, specifically with automated WSP builds and VS2010 UI testing (which can have a much lower barrier to entry than unit testing). When a few of these capabilities are strung together, the results are incredible for dev teams. Over several demos, we'll cover how to get started with automating the build, deploying the resulting WSPs to a remote SharePoint machine, then automatically running UI tests against the site. Part case study, the session will use an innovative SP2010 social/collab implementation (in production at Tesco) as the test bed – with ribbon customizations, a custom service application, and activity feed extensions thrown into the mix.

Hopefully the session will be interesting to anyone who at some point has said “we should get into automated builds”, or indeed, anyone interested in building the kind of social SP2010 intranet we’re building. Note my colleague Wes Hackett also has a community session at the conference on this project.

If you haven’t yet signed up for the Best Practices Conference but are considering it, I highly encourage you to go ahead. Read more on the conference site - European SharePoint Best Practices Conference 2011

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Optimizing SharePoint 2010 internet sites – slide deck

Last week I gave a talk at Microsoft on this topic, and I thought the slide deck was worth posting. You may remember I recently wrote about Eliminating large JS files to optimize SharePoint 2010 internet sites – my talk mentioned this approach but also had much wider coverage on other techniques to use. Some of the material came from recent experiences of optimizing my current employer’s site ( and also a fairly large client’s social/collab platform – more and more I find that if code and infrastructure aren’t in a really bad place it’s “page-level” optimization which yields the most benefit, and this was the focus of the talk.

I also talked about Aptimize – you might know this product from it’s use on Aptimize automates many of the optimizations I discussed, and I find it pretty interesting as a product. I’ve done some initial testing with it on a site I’ve been involved with and got good results – I’m hoping to look into it further on behalf of a client, and will most likely post further info here.

My slide deck also has some information on:

  • How infrastructure bottlenecks may change in the internet scenario (vs. intranet/collab)
  • How to determine infrastructure bottlenecks
  • Measuring page load times
  • Load testing

You can see the deck on SlideShare at

UPDATE – if you’re interested in performance, I should mention I recorded a SharePoint Podshow episode on the subject with Rob Foster whilst in Redmond recently. It’s not yet published (I’ll update this post when it is) – I talked in some detail about the kind of attention we paid on a client project recently, including around completely “non-code” aspects like disk performance, optimization for SQL’s Temp DB and content database distribution. I’ve no idea how it worked out as an interview, but Rob certainly knows his stuff on performance too so it was a great chat! Look out for it soon.